A Time of Tears

With all the talk of the economy, problems in the Middle East, Ukraine and Russia, today, Holocaust Remembrance Day has probably taken a back seat in most peoples thoughts.  But to those who vowed never to forget, Holocaust Remembrance Day is a day set aside so the world could pause and remember the tragic, horrific deaths of over 11 million human beings at the hands of the Nazi regime.

kristallnacht-damage-P“The Holocaust” began in 1933 and continued till the fall of Germany in 1945.  The Nazi Regime’s “Final Solution” included Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah Witnesses, Homosexuals and the infirmed.  They were either shot by the SS or sent to a forced labor camp.  Once in the camps they were worked to death, starved or exterminated in the now infamous gas chambers.  They were killed for simply being different than the “Master Race.”

Of all those murdered the Jewish population took the brunt of the Nazi hate.  It is estimated that over two thirds of all the Jew’s in Europe were exterminated.  Over 1 million were children.

Children awaiting execution at Aushwitz
Children awaiting execution at Auschwitz

Names like Dachau, Belzec, Treblinka and Auschwitz should be names we are all familiar with by now.  If not I suggest you look them up.  It was a terrible time in the history of the human race.  What made it worse was that so many countries, including the United States, knew what was happening but did nothing to stop it.

Today President Barack Obama had this to say….

“On this Yom HaShoah, I join people of all faiths in the United Sates, in the State of Israel, and around the world in remembering the six million Jews – innocent men, women and children – who were senselessly murdered during the Holocaust, as well as all the victims of Nazi brutality and violence.  Even as we mourn those whose lives were taken, this day also provides us with an opportunity to honor those who emerged from the darkness of the Shoah to rebuild their lives in new communities around the world. On this Yom HaShoah, let us recommit ourselves to the task of remembrance, and to always oppose anti-Semitism wherever it takes root. Together, we must give enduring meaning to the words ‘Never Again.’”

 

In Israel the entire country came to a halt when a siren sounded to mark the Holocaust.

The day is one of the most solemn on Israel’s calendar. Restaurants and places of entertainment shut down, and radio and TV programming focuses on Holocaust documentaries and interviews with survivors.  In a speech to a crowd that had gathered at Yad Vashem Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said,

ShowImage“They(the world) had eyes that did not see, and ears that did not hear. When you don’t want to accept reality as it is, it is possible to deny, and that is exactly what the Western leaders did.”

“We must not ignore any occurrence of anti-Semitism, any desecration of a synagogue, any tombstone smashed in a cemetery in which our families are buried. We must not ignore the rise of extreme right-wing parties with neo-Nazi tendencies who are a danger to each of us and a threat to every nation,” he said.

“A strong Israel is our response to the horrors of anti-Semitism but it does not excuse the rest of the world from its responsibility to prevent this disease from returning to their own homes.”

ebensee-survivors-PTo anyone that thinks it can not happen in todays world they are wrong.  Just last week in the Ukraine Russian sympathizers took control of a small town and “ordered” all Jews to register with them.  Luckily the rest of the world immediately heard about it and the disgust and protest went viral.  Even Russia denounced it.  Those that were responsible silently crawled back into the dark holes they came out of.

My Mother in Law is a survivor.  She and her sister enjoyed the Nazi’s hospitality at several of the death camps.  They watched as their whole family was executed.  But they survived and they remember.    George Santayana said in 1863, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Those are words we all need to take to heart if we ever hope to prevent another event of such horrific consequences and it can happen anywhere, as noted above, to anyone in the blink of an eye or the shedding or a tear.

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